Writer: Kevin Smith
Artist: Glenn Fabry
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens with Daredevil paying a visit to the ruins of the World Trade Centers on the same night that he's revisiting one of the greatest tragedies from his own life, as this night is the third anniversary of Karen Page's death at the hands of Bullseye. As Matt looks back on his own life and reflects on the night when Karen died, we see he's still torn apart by the idea that Karen's murder is still unresolved, as Bullseye hasn't been brought to justice, and given the violence of Matt's attack on a defenseless punching bag, we get the very real sense that Matt is operating more along the lines of an eye for an eye/death for a death mentality when it comes to any future encounters with Bullseye. We then see that it's very likely that Matt's going to be crossing paths with Bullseye in the near future, as the assassin has arrived in New York at the request of a pair of clients, who are eager to see a certain party killed to further advance their holy war against America. After Bullseye puts on a display of his uncanny ability to kill, as well as his willingness to perform the act at a drop of the hat, the issue ends with Bullseye accepting the contract, though his target is left undisclosed.
This issue has Bullseye finally making his return to Daredevil's corner of the Marvel Universe, and we discover that three years have past since Karen was murdered. Now I'm not talking real time here, but rather in the story itself states that Matt's been waiting to laying a beating on Bullseye for three years. We then get a look at Bullseye who we see has still been active during the intervening years, but we get the suggestion that he's been avoiding work in the New York area, as he knows Daredevil has been itching for a fight. Still, three years is a long time to wait for a rematch, especially when one sees that Matt still has enough rage & anguish over Karen's murder, that he spends the anniversary of her death laying into a punching bag until it splits open. With his connections with S.H.I.E.L.D. via the Black Widow, and his other information sources (e.g. Ben Urich), one would think that Matt would've found a way to locate Bullseye long before this impending meeting. I realize that Kevin Smith was the one who gave Daredevil a renewed reason to hate Bullseye, and as such he deserves first crack at the rematch, but this three year gap in comic time struck me as highly unlikely, given the sheer animosity that Kevin Smith wants the scenes with Daredevil to convey.
I've recently picked up the "Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller" volumes, so I've gotten a pretty good idea of how Bullseye became one of Daredevil's most hated opponents, and one imagines that Kevin Smith read those same issues, and as such he realizes the potential of the rivalry he's playing with here. Now in this first issue the two have yet to meet, and annoyingly a fair chunk of this issue is given over to reminding us why Daredevil hates Bullseye. The book also recaps Daredevil's back-story, and in a rather unusual opening sequence Kevin Smith also decides to slip in a September 11th moment, and while it's a well done scene, it seemed a bit out of place once the real story started up. In any event it's the final eleven pages of this issue that will have Daredevil fans sitting up & taking notice, as we see Bullseye makes his arrival a couple pages in, and Kevin Smith quickly brings the reader up to speed on how dangerous & utterly ruthless Bullseye can be. There's also a nice little mystery of who Bullseye's been hired to bring down, and while my first guess would be the President of the United States, but frankly this based entirely on Bulleye's impressed reaction after he learns who the target will be.
Glenn Fabry is a hit and miss artist for me, as there are panels where his work is absolutely stunning, from the opening shot of the ruins of the World Trade Centers, to the wonderfully chilling display of Bullseye's ability to kill. He also delivers a wonderful painted cover to this issue, and the flashback scene where Daredevil's dive off the roof acts to showcase the various looks the character's had over the years is a fun visual. On the other hand there are also moments in this book where I find myself wondering why Glenn Fabry insists on putting so many lines on his character's faces, as I've seen dried apple head granny dolls with better complexions than half the characters Glenn Fabry details. There's also his desire to clearly detail every muscle & sinew of Daredevil's musculature, so he ends up looking like a picture from a biology text book that shows us what the human body looks like without its skin. I also have to express my disappointment that Bullseye has stopped wearing his costume, and he's instead opted for look inspired by the upcoming Daredevil movie. Another classic costume bites the dust, and what makes it worse is that it's replaced by a look that makes Bullseye look like a big goof.
First off who went and told Kevin Smith that he could write a comic that was so unrelentingly grim. I mean I realize that I'm painting him in a corner based on his previous work in both comics & film, but I kept waiting for this issue to generate at least one scene that was funny, and there's not one to be found. What this issue does do however is lay the groundwork for what should be a classic tussle between Daredevil & Bullseye, and given this will be their first meeting since Karen Page's death, I fully expect this miniseries to break the age old rule that miniseries can only make superficial changes. The one element that I didn't care much for is that far too much of the book is spent detailing why this latest meeting is going to be "big". Now I realize that this is done to bring the newer readers the movie is likely to pull in up to speed when this book is collected in trade paperback form, but I found the opening half of this book was a little weak. However, once Bullseye puts in his appearance the book really picks up speed, and by the end I was truly excited.
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